We wanted more variety, refined taste and guarantee of ethical standards. In our search we discovered Luker Chocolate from Colombia.
Getting to the Heart of Chocolate:
- Luker offers refined taste and more variety, especially in the dark chocolates.
- Internationally Certified as Cacao Fino De Aroma, a specialty cocoa that applied to only 8% of the chocolate produced world wide.
- Cacao is native to Latin America and Colombia has the diverse soils and tropical climate to optimize the finest varieties
- Natural rich flavour of the coca mean less processing at the roasting stage
- More Cacao and less sugar.
- This means the chocolate we use here in Courtenay can be traced right back to the Cocoa grower.
- Knowing the grower creates a relationship of committed quality and cycle of success.
- Several levels of quality analysis can be carried out at every stage of growth and production to ensure consistency of flavour.
- Following the value chain back to the source guarantees transparency at all levels.
- Production, community and customer satisfaction are all equally important.
- Constant innovation is fundamental to continually improve at every level.
- Environmentalists, local and national government, entrepreneurs, scientists and NGO’s from around the world come to learn and share in the Luker development.
- Sharing the knowledge allows more communities to grow and flourish
Why choose Luker?
Established since 1906, Luker has created programs to develop the production of fine cacao as a sustainable, quality product that not only serves the buyer but the grower as well.
- Colombia rates second in the world for biodiversity but deforestation and industry have been degrading the ecology
- Luker has developed systems of agroforestry that allow the cultivation of cacao amongst native plants and trees
- This process is bringing back a sustainable ecosystem that provides habitat to hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife
- Through ongoing research and innovation the goal is to re-establish a natural environment where coca grows in balance with nature.
Putting Heart in Your Chocolate
- Luker provides education to farmers who want to transition to cocoa crops.
- Over the years thousands to families have been able to transition from the illicit coca (cocaine) production into a safer and sustainable way of life.
- Success is dependent on a thriving community and so the Luker Foundation provide school funding food programs and cultural development
- Luker provides the infrastructure for local farmers to succeed and in turn they create a quality chocolate
- A vital part of the Agroforestry system helping to bring biodiversity back to the farmland
- Create high canopy for birds and monkeys
- Shade for the cocoa trees
- Shedding leaves provide mulch on the ground and nutrients to the soil
- Tree roots help prevent water run off and erosion
- Fast growing provides wood for fermenting boxes and other structures.
How is Chocolate Made?
Follow the Cocoa Path…
- Sprouted cocoa seeds need 4 weeks before being planted in the ground.
- The new cocoa tree needs at least 3 years before it will bear fruit.
- When ripe, the cocoa pods are cut from the tree, one by one.
- Cocoa Pods are cut open to remove the seed and while fleshy pulp that surrounds them.
- Now the cocoa beans are put into wooden vats where the while pulp will naturally start a fermentation process. This is a crucial point in developing the subtle flavours of the cocoa.
- At just the right point the seeds are then laid out on large drying racks in the hot sun. The heat stops the fermentation and dries the beans in a slow natural roast.
- Once dry the beans are bagged and sent off to the production plant is Bogota
- The nibs are ground and reground and ground again forming a thick paste called Cocoa liquor. (Not to be mistaken for English word liquor, this paste contains no alcohol.)
- The ‘Liquor’ is compressed to separate the “mass” from the cocoa butter.
Now the chocolate can be made!
- Dark Chocolate
- Cocoa liquor with sugar & vanilla
- Milk Chocolate
- Cocoa liquor with cocoa butter, milk solids, & sugar
- White Chocolate
- Cocoa butter, with milk solids, & sugar (no liquor)
And then it’s shipped here to Courtenay and around the globe.